In the last few weeks and months DCIG has been doing some introspection as it looks to quantify what it does well. As we have done so, we have talked internally as well as with folks external to DCIG who are sources we trust and who give us candid feedback about what we do and how we can do it better. During this period of time we have found room for improvement but we have also found that of the analyst services DCIG does deliver, it performs them in a manner than it most cases beats the competition.
DCIG’s first distinctive offering was its outsourced blogging services introduced in 2007. While a few (very few) analyst firms offer outsourced blogging services, this is still in an area where people tell us that DCIG wins hands down over the competition for the four following reasons:
- Quality of content. We maintain a very high quality of writing with almost every piece citing some third party reference and, many times, two or more external pieces of content. In addition, as DCIG does more Buyer’s Guides, it has access to more original statistical research as to how different products stack up and which products lead in their respective categories.
- Delivery of blogging content. DCIG is the only one that gives each subscribing member to have its own micro-site within DCIG’s blogging site. Content is then prepared for that subscriber and posted to its micro-site. The value of this is three-fold.
First, all blog content from each DCIG member is aggregated and displayed on DCIG’s frequently visited front page resulting in higher visibility for that content.
Second, each micro-site has its own RSS feed that people may subscribe to via blog readers or rapidly growing iPad apps such as Flipboard.
Third, DCIG’s clients may stream content directly from their DCIG micro-site to their own website so they regularly and automatically have fresh content display on their own site.
- Transparency. DCIG openly discloses which content it prepares for its clients and which it prepares on its accord to better help readers understand the perspective from which the blog entry was written
- Multi-purpose. DCIG prepares every blog entry with the idea that the entry will be referenced frequently over time and may eventually be turned into an Executive White Papers (EWPs). This gives companies who subscribe to DCIG’s blogging services the initial value and exposure that they derive from the blog entry. They then receive longer term value from the content in the blog entry by having it formally laid out and repurposed as an executive white paper that is laid out in PDF format and may be used for educational, sales and marketing support.
DCIG’s other distinctive offering is its DCIG Buyer’s Guide that was DCIG’s second notable offering and most successful to date. Since the first DCIG 2010 Midrange Array Buyer’s Guide was released, DCIG Buyer’s Guides have literally become game-changers in how companies make technology buying decisions.
Three specific items make it unique:
- First, no vendor pays to sponsor these Buyer’s Guides or to be included in them. Instead all research is independently done by DCIG and only after DCIG completes the research is a Buyer’s Guide licensed to an interested party.
- Second, DCIG covers all vendors that offer a product in a particular space – sometimes even when they do not respond to the survey that DCIG sends out. However these vendors are only covered assuming DCIG can find sufficient information to reliably complete the survey on their behalf and, even then, DCIG gives them the opportunity to review DCIG’s findings and respond to them.
- Finally, DCIG ranks and scores the products in the Buyer’s Guide using a proven statistical model. Using these scores and rankings users can more easily make apples-to-apples comparisons between similar products.
In looking at the more traditional analyst services that DCIG offers such as its white papers and case studies and comparing them to other analyst firms, we again find that our products are very competitive and arguably better than what others offer. The three most commonly cited reasons that we have heard as to why our clients prefer DCIG over the competition are:
- Good value for the money. Our clients tell us that the quality of the content that DCIG delivers is excellent relative to what we charge for them and compares very favorably to what other analyst firms charge for similar services.
- Professional layout. Our clients rave about how great DCIG’s white papers, case studies and executive white papers look. While they love the content, the appearance of these papers just makes them “pop” making them an immediate hit with their current and prospective customers.
- Done right the first time. As DCIG works with its clients to produce various works, they are always pleased that the quality of the work of the first draft at it is almost always right on the money. While there is usually always some editing that has to occur, complete re-writes are few and far between facilitating a faster time to market for each piece of collateral.
Finally, when we looked at where we are leading in the analyst space, DCIG’s new Interactive Buyer’s Guide (IBG) is setting DCIG apart in ways that other analyst firms will be hard-pressed to follow. This cloud-based research-as-a-service offering has people simply blown away by its power, simplicity and ease-of-use as it gives them point-and-click access to research that used to take them days, weeks or months to create on their own and which no other analyst firm has any type of competitive offering. Further, using the IBG, companies can in 5 minutes or less create a highly credible, citable and professional looking PDF that compares up to five (5) products under evaluation.
At this point, we have every reason to believe this product will be more than highly successful; it will be a game changer. What specifically makes it so notable is that the DCIG IBG transforms DCIG into a software company. Using the original research that DCIG did to prepare its static Buyer’s Guides, this research is converted into information that is relevant and within a specific business context without overwhelming an individual with too much information or data.
A period of introspection is always helpful. While it is sometimes painful and a little disheartening to see some shortcomings, it can also be uplifting and encouraging to see where one is doing well. In DCIG’s case, we found our list of positives far outweigh our negatives making us very pleased with what we have accomplished to date and even more excited about what the next few years promise to bring to those who take advantage of our services.